The Enchanting Smile

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva

One of the significant point our spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj used to say often in regard to the prayers in Srimad Bhagavatam is that we should not stop with just reciting or studying the prayers of different devotees. We should also study the Lord's response to the devotee after the prayers are offered. For eg., In the 3rd canto, when Lord Brahma offers his prayers seeking the Lord's mercy for the service of creation, the Lord responds with some very deep and meaningful slokas. Similarly Lord Nrsimhadev also responds with very thought-provoking verses to Prahlad Maharaj's prayers. It is an interesting study exercise to meditate on these responses from the Lord. One of the foremost prayer in Srimad Bhagavatam is by Srimati Kunti Maharani. The Lord's response to this most beautiful kunti stuti is very interesting to meditate on. It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.44, that after Kunti Maharani offered her prayers to the Lord, who was about to leave Hastinapura for Dwarka, the Lord simply smiled in response.

sūta uvāca
pṛthayetthaṁ kala-padaiḥ pariṇūtākhilodayaḥ
mandaṁ jahāsa vaikuṇṭho mohayann iva māyayā

Sūta Goswami said: "The Lord, thus hearing the prayers of Kuntīdevī, composed in choice words for His glorification, mildly smiled. That smile was as enchanting as His mystic power."

Srila Prabhupada writes in his beautiful purport, "Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī has prayed to the Lord just to enunciate a fragment of His glories. All His devotees worship Him in that way, by chosen words, and therefore the Lord is known as Uttamaśloka. No amount of chosen words is sufficient to enumerate the Lord’s glory, and yet He is satisfied by such prayers as the father is satisfied even by the broken linguistic attempts of the growing child."

Kunti Maharani's prayers are full with deep philosophy, pure loving bhakti and full of detachment. She is one of the most resilient and powerful character in the entire Mahabharata. She speaks very little but her actions as a loving mother, dedicated daughter-in-law of the kuru family, as a dutiful wife of king Pandu and a dear devotee & aunt of Lord Krishna is worthy of worship. She endured all kinds of difficulties, disrespect, disappointments, neglect, betrayals and nothing else. But we never see her complain to Krishna even once for her unending miseries. On the contrary she prays that she wants Krishna to bring all the miseries back in her life once again so that she can see Him again and again. As far as she is concerned, all the pains and sufferings they faced throughout their life put together is nothing compared to the pain of separation from the Lord.

As a pure devotee of the Lord, she does not want anything in return from the Lord for her prayers. Rather she wants the Lord Himself to stay back and not leave them. Interestingly, the Lord did not say a single word in return for her prayers. He simply smiled. And that transcendental smile was as enchanting as His mystic power. It cast a spell on the devotee and relieves them of all their miseries, most importantly the pain of separation from Him. Srila Prabhupada writes beautifully that the Lord's smile indicated at least 2 things:

1. The Lord's glories are unlimited and it is not humanly possible to glorify all of them. But when we do it in our puny capacity, He is satisfied just like the father getting satisfied by the broken words spoken by the child. Thus the Lord smiled as an acknowledgement indicating His satisfaction of Kunti Maharani's devotion.

2. Secondly the Lord's smile also indicates His mercy being bestowed upon the devotees. The devotees do not want wealth, name and fame, followers, power etc from the Lord. These are all utterly insignificant when compared to the transcendental glance and smile that He casts upon His devotees. Even the entirety of the three worlds is not equal to that enchanting smile of the Lord. The Lord exactly knows what will satisfy the devotees and He exactly gives it to them. In the case of Kunti Maharani, the eternal pure devotee of the Lord, the transcendental smile of the Lord is enough to satisfy her.

It is a very important lesson for us to meditate on. Many times we offer our prayers to the Lord. When we get some material benefits, we think that the Lord has answered our prayers. When we don't get any material benefits, we either get frustrated or get upset with the Lord. We can get the best reciprocation from the Lord when we do not ask for anything material from Him, or rather anything from Him. All we should want is for Him to simply cast His transcendental enchanting smile upon us always! No other benediction is of any value to us.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das

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